What are histamines?
Histamines are a biologically active compound that is found within the majority of living organisms, from human beings and other mammals to plants, bacteria, and insects.
Histamines are classified as being an amine, which is an organic molecule based on ammonia’s chemical structure.
Scientists Henry Dale and George Barger were responsible for isolating histamine from ergot, a deadly plant fungus, in the early 19th century. Shortly after that, the two English scientists managed to isolate histamine from animal tissues.
Histamines can be found within plants such as stinging nettles. The delicate hairs on the leaves of stinging nettles that produce itching and swelling when touched contain histamine, as do the venoms of the majority of bee, wasp, and hornet species.
Histamines in the body
In the human body, histamine can be found throughout the body in nearly all tissues, primarily stored in the mast cells of tissue as well as within the granules of basophils (a type of blood cells).
Histamine is also categorized as a neurotransmitter, meaning it is responsible for relaying chemical messages in between neurons (nerve cells).
When histamine is released in the body, it can be responsible for a wide range of functions such as contracting the muscle tissues found within the stomach, lungs, and uterus; dilating blood vessels, promoting the secretion of gastric acid, and raising heart rate.
Histamine + immune system
Histamine plays a crucial role in how your immune system responds to injuries, allergens, and infection. When any part of your body is inflamed due to anything from a bacterial infection to a nasty cut, tissue mast cells release histamine to enhance permeability of blood vessel walls and dilate blood cells.
This process allows the immune system to release fluids such as white blood cells and blood plasma to permeate through blood vessel walls in order to travel to the site of infection or injury to begin repairing the damaged…
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